Unionists slam Adams’ reaction to report

Scene of the Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre in 1984
Scene of the Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre in 1984

Unionists have slammed Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams for rejecting a Police Ombudsman report which found no evidence of RUC involvement in an attempt on his life 30 years ago.

The UFF opened fire on a car containing the Sinn Fein president and four other men as they travelled from a Belfast court.

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire had said: “We have talked to all the people involved in the events that day, including the perpetrators, the victims and the police.

“We have examined all the available evidence, including forensic and sensitive intelligence material, and found no evidence that police knew of the attack beforehand.”

Mr Adams had told the ombudsman that “something was not quite right” about the entire incident and wondered how members of the security forces “coincidentally” appeared at the scene.

The ombudsman investigated claims that a police informant, a highly placed UFF member, was involved in planning the attack, that a retired RUC detective said police knew of the plan a week in advance, and that the bullets had been “doctored” to make them less lethal.

But the Sinn Fein leader responded yesterday that the conclusions were made without classified documents being opened or information on the operations of the Force Research Unit, which ran agents and informers within the UDA, being made available.

“In my opinion this report is incomplete,” he said.

“The ombudsman should seek access to British Army files and other pertinent intelligence records and set aside his conclusions until this is done.”

DUP Policing Board member Jonathan Craig said Sinn Fein is “refusing to accept this report at face value, yet has regularly criticised others when they have questioned a Police Ombudsman report. This is a grand display of hypocrisy.”

It would be “useful” if Mr Adams would provide the same level of transparency about his role in the Troubles as the security force members who were interviewed for this report, he added.

Ulster Unionist MLA Ross Hussey said: ““It is hugely regrettable that instead of showing gratitude, or indeed any grace at all, Gerry Adams and other senior republicans questioned the fact that a number of off-duty security personnel were in the vicinity at the time of the attack.

“I would like to remind the Sinn Fein leader that in 1984 he was apologist for the actions of the IRA, which included regular shootings and bomb attacks in Belfast.”